Sean's Story

My name is Sean, 20 years old from West Belfast. I was born in 1997, I’ve 3 younger brothers. When I was born, I was born with an eye condition that affected the shape of my eyes. I’ve had multiple operations in London, Belfast and stuff.

Sean's Story

My name is Sean, 20 years old from West Belfast. I was born in 1997, I’ve 3 younger brothers. When I was born, I was born with an eye condition that affected the shape of my eyes. I’ve had multiple operations in London, Belfast and stuff.

Been bullied all my life because of it. … tortured, beaten, slagged from primary school right up through secondary school, right up to now I’ve been slagged. It used to bother me when I was younger, going through secondary school, but to be honest then I didn’t care what people thought of me. I just let it go over my head. Whenever I got bullied because of my eyes it melted my head. I didn’t want to go out or anything. And then …. sorta didn’t bother me, well that’s what I thought anyway.

When I was 16, I realised that everything I’d been through, slagging and bullying, beatings and stuff, was for nothing, just the way I looked. I realised when I was 16 and it started to affect me. I started to get depressed and all, anxiety, and paranoid and all because everytime I went out everyone started to stare. It done my head in big time.

It was hard, still is, but I’ve learnt to deal with it, it’s the way I look, the way I am, nothing I can do about it. It’s just me.

People out there who are worse off, that’s something I’ve realised.

2005 or 2006, sorry, my granny died. That was a big thing in my life. Like, it was bad. 2 years later, my grandpa died. It was another killer. When I was younger I didn’t really understand it all.

I was always told when my granny died she just passed off peacefully in her sleep. Whenever I had reached 17, I started drinking more stuff and smoking grass, and all, completely dependent on grass.

When I hit 17 and started drinking bad, I was told that my granny didn’t just die in her sleep, she was an alcoholic and she died because she was drinking so much. And because of the troubles and all, my grandpa was shot.

And my dad went off the rails and my granny had to try to try to keep it all together. My grandpa was in hospital for years. He ended up paralyzed and in a wheel chair for his whole life.

During the troubles, it was bad enough with everything and all, my granny had to deal with everything on her own and all. And then trying to look after my dad, and his sisters and all. She ended up becoming an alcoholic. Whenever I found out when I was 17, that was the reason she died I felt very cheated on. … that’s one way to describe it. I just felt lied to, I was lied to for years. Am shouldn’t ’a been not told what was wrong, but I understand it because I was young. They wouldn’t tell me.

The reason I was told how my granny actually died and the reasons why she died was because I started drinking, following the wrong crowd and started doing bad stuff I shouldn’t been doing. So, my auntie, my dad’s sister thought it would have been worth my while letting me know that if I’d gone on the way I was, it could’a happened to me too, I could’a started drinking more, and become reliant on drink and all. So, I thought, fair enough,and I cut down my drink and started smoking green even more, flat out every single day, it was just constant.

That’s the only thing that keeps me sweet, keeps me level headed, people say when you smoke green it makes you more paranoid but, to me, it doesn’t, it gives me the ability to be able to go out and walk about the streets and keeps me calm and keeps me chilled. That made me flip when people are staring at me and stuff.

So, I can keep my cool … I have done all my life. I always said to myself, because of the life my da had whenever he was younger, because he had troubles, my grandpa being in a wheel chair, and he going off the rails, he was joyriding and drinking and everything and all different shit. I always told myself I was going to do better, and I was going to make a better life for myself. I was going to get my qualifications and all, I was going to stick by it. Now I got all my GCSE’s, got everything I needed, that was my plans, done it.

Next plan was to do me A’ levels and make something of myself cause no one else in my family had done it and I wanted to be the first. I wanted to show everyone I was capable of something. So, I went and done a year and a half of A ‘levels, was sitting on two distinctions and a merit and then I started falling in with the wrong crowd, the very wrong crowd. Started taking more drugs, started taking e’s and coke …. That became a regular thing, it was every single weekend without fail, going on to take all sorts of drugs.

As months went on I started to get more involved in drugs… started selling them, started off with a bit of green, making myself a few quid, so I wasn’t paying for any smoke. Then things progressed I started taking e’s and all and started partying more… thought it was good making a bit of money and all .. thought it was class and then three months after I was pulled as I was coming out of a night club, and I had guns put to my kneecaps. I was told that was on my head … that was a big wakeup call … a big wakeup call.

I had a lot of shite going on in my head and no one knew about it, never talked to anyone …. I tried to kill myself. Once ma mate stopped me on the way to do it and took the curtain wire off me. Two days later everyone knew because my mate went and told my ma that I’d done it, and my da and all, and they didn’t take any notice of it, and didn’t take it seriously. Two days later I done the same thing, near enough the same thing. Went to a grave yard and found a tree, um, … threw a belt up … um ah … was found and was told by the doctors and nurses, I was lucky, not to be brain-dead or paralyzed. That was scary like, after I felt too embarrassed and too ashamed of myself and all for doing it.

Felt like I let my family down, felt like I’d let my mates down but now I don’t feel that .. that was just the way I was feeling at the time. Everyone has done shit and have their own issues to deal with … it was just the way I was at the time. Started getting the help that I needed, seeing the psychiatrist for months, councillors, … never really done anything like. My relationship, my ma and da split up a few years ago because there was always violence and all in the house .. me and my wee brother there was violence, so they thought it best to split up.

Whenever they split up, my relationship with me ma was never the best … just always constant bickering and arguing and just over stupid things, I just got fed up with it … just wanted to move out, couldn’t wait to get out of the house. Move out be on my own. Get me own house and all …

June or May this year, I met a woman and got into a relationship with the woman. My family didn’t agree with it what so ever … whenever I met the woman I found I was able to move into her house, that was like an escape, I was able to move out of my ma’s … it was like, happy fucking days. No more shite. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t want to not talk to my ma and da when I started going with the woman … the woman was 34, had kids and my ma and my da just didn’t agree with the situation whatsoever. Fell out with my whole family, with all my friends and all. My wee brother, he’s18, me and him are like sticky plasters - you never see one without the other and that was without fail. Lost him, didn’t see him for months, and gave everything up to go with the woman, absolutely everything. Got engaged, was engaged for a couple of months and then she done … she went back to her ex. That was a killer, absolute killer, that was one of the worst things to happen me, just for the simple fact that that was what I was willing to give up and that was what I was willing to do for her … and what I did do for her, for her to go and do that after me falling out with my family and stuff.

I was kicked out of the house at half-five in the morning by her and her ex-partner and some other fella was there. Left at half-five in the morning, was homeless, nowhere to go … ended up getting lifted. Then my cousin came back from holiday the next day and stayed with her for a couple of weeks and then with the help of Quaker Cottage was able to get into a hostel. I am in the hostel now trying to get myself back on track, stand on my own feet and trying to make my life better. After reading my story back to myself it has made me realise that there were a lot more things that have happened in my life that have affected me. Until you take the time out to read your story you don’t realise how much other things that has happened in your life and the way that it affects you. For example, when I was 10 I was walking to the shop to get milk for my mummy. On the way back, a fully-grown man started shouting abuse to me “go away back to China”, I told my Dad and there was murder, fights left right and centre, I even got hit with a crutch and ended up with a scar. A feud had started. But to cut the long story short, we were put under threat of being burnt out. The police came out to the door a week later with another threat, this went on and on. And resulted with me and my wee brothers having to get a taxi to and from school which was only a 5-minute walk away because of the threats and the dangers. It’s only when you sit and actually think about everything, you realise how mad that actually is, for something like that to happen. There are so many other incidents just like that, that have happened throughout my life that I could write my own book.

My hopes for the future would be to work with young people and to help bring about some sort of change which is really needed in Belfast today. Firstly, to create more opportunities and a better advanced mental health service. There should be more awareness about mental health, suicide, self-harm – if not being taught in schools, to be talked about.


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